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Revealed: the world’s most expensive cities for expats in 2022

A new report weighs up currency values and the costs of rent, public transport and household staples

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Can you imagine popping down the road for a litre of milk and it costing you a whopping £3.50 ($4.39)? The thought alone is eye-watering, right? Well, for Hong Kongers, apparently that price is an everyday reality. In a new report from data firm ECA International, Hong Kong has once again been named the world’s most expensive city for expats. 

This is the third year in a row that Hong Kong has topped ECA’s index, which takes into account things like currency value and the average cost of public transport, rent and household staples.

By almost every measure of spenny-ness, Hong Kong topped the rankings. For everything from tomatoes and cooking oil to petrol and take-out coffees, HK proved more expensive than the likes of Sydney, London and New York. The continued strength of the Hong Kong dollar also contributed to the city’s stubborn priciness. 

So how did other cities do? Well, both New York and London rose in the rankings to second and fourth places respectively, with both having endured high inflation over the past year. Tokyo, meanwhile, dropped to fifth thanks to the weakened Japanese yen.

Here are full top ten most expensive cities for expats in 2022, according to ECA’s study.

1. Hong Kong

2. New York

3. Geneva

4. London

5. Tokyo

6. Tel Aviv

7. Zurich

8. Shanghai

9. Guangzhou

10. Seoul

ECA’s report isn’t the only measure of the world’s most expensive cities. Last year the Economist Intelligence Unit named Tel Aviv the world’s dearest place to live, though similarly included Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Geneva in its top ten – for more on that, read this.

If you’re looking for more details on ECA International’s study, you can read the full report for yourself here.

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